Detecting Serial Arcs in Aeronautical Applications Using Inductive Sensors

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There is a clear trend in the aircraft industry to use more electrical systems in propulsion and electromechanical and electrohydraulic actuators to comply with environmental sustainability and to improve reliability and maintenance processes. The increase of electrical consumption requires an increase of the rated voltages to supply power to these so called more electrical aircraft (MEA). Unfortunately, this voltage rise, currently up to 540 V$_{dc}$, can lead to ionization processes within the electric wiring due to the lower air density at high altitudes. As a consequence, a degraded insulation can create extremely hazardous events in flight such as arcs between wires (serial) or between wires and fuselage (parallel). Serial arcs in dc bus circuits are specially dangerous for the aircraft operation, so its detection within fractions of seconds is required to ensure a reliable operation. However, during a sustained serial arc the rated current can be passing through air deceiving the protections and avoiding their tripping. In this article, it has been found that arcing introduces high frequency current pulses superimposed to the dc component that can be identified to detect the occurrence of an arc. The frequency components of these pulses depend on the line characteristics and can be detected with inductive sensors. This manuscript also designs and tests a light and inexpensive sensor for arc detection in aircraft applications.
Condition Monitoring, Inductive Sensors, More Electrical Aircraft (Mea), Serial Arcs, Signal Characterization, Spectrography
Bibliographic citation
Robles, G., Martínez-Tarifa, J. M., Gómez De La Calle, M., Barroso De Maria, G., & Izquierdo, D. (2022). Detecting serial arcs in aeronautical applications using inductive sensors. IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, 58(3), 2073-2082.